15 December 2020
Rani Nurwitawati worked for 17 years at an Indonesian market research company and never thought she would lose her job.
But then the COVID-19 crisis struck.
"My brother lost his job, my sister got a 25 percent pay cut. And finally, I also lost my job," said the 41-year-old Jakarta woman.
Nurwitawati knew from her work that the food and drink business was resistant to the economic downturn. So, she decided to start selling food from her home.
But she needed to find customers, or people who would buy her products. Nurwitawati found an ally in Omah Wulangreh, an art and cultural community in Jakarta.
Before COVID-19, the community was the physical home of the Pahingan Sunday market. But when COVID-19 forced the physical market to close, the artists moved it online. The number of sellers at the market grew as space was no longer an issue.
Nurwitawati says she is now able to earn some money while she learns how to run a business.
"I have learned about networking, got new knowledge, and more people know my products," she said. "When I joined for the first time, it was really sad because there was only one buyer, after that it increased to more than 10."
She prepares baked spaghetti and mango sticky rice.
Parahita Satiti, 37, also joined the Sunday market. She had always dreamed of starting a business related to traditional clothing. When her employers cut her monthly earnings by 50 percent she decided to open the clothing business.
She started selling Javanese kebaya — clothing for women made of traditional Javanese batik cloth.
"This is a new business, but seeing the enthusiasm and orders from the Pahingan Sunday market, I think it will be a promising business for me," Satiti said.
The Sunday market is usually open once every 35 days, said Reny Ajeng, one of its organizers. By the third online event last month, there were 46 sellers. Buyers had one week to preorder products, such as traditional foods, clothes, and coffee. During one week, there were almost 500 products sold, bringing in about 25 million rupiah, or $1,770.
"To be honest, we are really happy," Reny said. "Our first mission was to make an online Sunday market since we can do nothing offline during the pandemic. But it turns out, enthusiasm is high, so many sellers are having high hopes."
I'm Armen Kassabian.
The Associated Press reported this story. Armen Kassabian adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
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Words in This Story
customers – n. someone who buys goods or services
enthusiasm – n. a strong feeling of active interest in something that you like or enjoy
mission – n. a task or job that someone is given to do